Meet The IPHD Team

Madhu Vaishnav – Founder and Executive Director

Madhu headshot

Madhu was born and raised in Jodhpur, India and founded IPHD in 2013 in response to a need for women’s empowerment. She holds a Master’s Degree in Indian History and Hindi and has completed post-graduate studies in community and social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. Madhu has ten years of work experience in civic and social organizations having assisted in many urban slum and village development projects with students from all over the globe. She has also worked as a local program coordinator for the Foundation for Sustainable Development, an international nonprofit organization. She has experience working in the areas of microfinance, women’s empowerment, HIV awareness, skills training, community need assessment, sex worker education, and Hindi and English teaching. Madhu strives to empower her local community while connecting Jodhpur with the international humanitarian world.

Suzanne Blair – Business Consultant and Advisor

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.53.43 pmSuzanne Blair is a Business Consultant and Advisor to Internship for Humanitarian Development. She has founded, run, and sold several businesses in Melbourne, Australia where she resides. Suzanne currently works in developing countries each year for 4 months. She has worked in the Indian sub continent, Africa, and Central America. Her chief working areas of interest are business development, micro enterprise, marketing and microfinance in developing countries. Suzanne holds graduate and post-graduate degrees from universities in Australia, Canada and UK.

Rukiya Bano – Saheli Center Manager

12698341_1079401198749530_3368781358225146689_oSince joining Saheli Women as an embroiderer and the center’s manager, Rukiya has become a pivotal part to the center’s dynamic structure. She moved from the city of Osyan to the Bhikamkor Village at the age of 16 to live with her husband and has lived there for 12 years. Rukiya lives with her husband and their four daughters. Her husband was the main financial provider for the family, but Rukiya work for the center now contributes to their household income. As a Muslim women, Rukiya introduces a completely different aspect to the Saheli women and shares insight that none of the other women have experienced (e.g. her non-vegetarian diet). She is often seen laughing or cracking jokes and has been dubbed the “spicy chili” of the center to reflect her firecracker personality.

Shobha Sawarte – Saheli Center Librarian 

12095114_1012903905399260_5792893786297823664_oShobha Sarwate has been apart of the Saheli Center as a designer for Saheli Designs and has recently taken the job as the amazing librarian for the Saheli Center. At 26 years old, Shobha has raised two children, her son (4) and her daughter Sania (8) in the village where she was born and raised in, Bhikamkor. Shobha holds education in high regard and laments not being able to complete school past the eighth grade. She is now dedicated to seeing both of her children through school, and helping other children with their reading and writing skills.

Abby Kolenbrander – Girls’ Education Advisor

Abby Kolenbrander is IPHD’s current Girls’ Education Advisor. She is a senior psychology and law student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Abby was a Girls Education Project intern in the spring of 2017. During this time, she designed and implemented trainings for the two women working as education advocates and the three teachers IPHD hired to work in the girls’ primary school in Bhikamkor. Abby hopes to attend law school after finishing her undergraduate degree and work in the field of policy development.

Dr. Ravindra Parmar – Health Advisor


Dr. Ravindra Parmar is a general medicine practitioner with 20 years of experience working in rural and urban Rajasthan. He completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1991 and his Doctor of Medicine in 1995 from SN Medical College Jodhpur. Dr. Parmar has invaluable experience working in the Indian health system and dealing with diseases prevalent in rural India. He has worked in Guinea Worm and polio eradication, anemia awareness + treatment, and opium addiction. His main interest, however, is in tuberculosis prevention and management.

Ryan Loong – General Health Advisor


Ryan Loong is one of IPHD’s current Health Affairs Advisor. He received his undergraduate degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley and his Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a former public health intern with IPHD during the summer of 2015 in which he designed and implemented a health scan of Bhikamkor, serving as the foundation for IPHD’s current health projects. He now assists in the development of future health endeavors in Bhikamkor.


Uma Gaddamanugu – Woman’s Health Advisor

Uma Gaddamanugu is currently a senior Public Health Major with a concentration in Health, Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina. Uma has experience working as a student intern with UNC Hospital’s Beacon program, a system that provides comprehensive care to patients that have experienced any form of family violence. During her summer 2016 internship, Uma worked on a women’s health survey and menstrual hygiene management project in the Bhikamkor high school. Her professional interests include reproductive rights, women’s health, interpersonal violence eradication, and global health disparities. After graduation, Uma hopes to work on a health intervention for vulnerable populations for a few years before going to medical school.


Sydney Donley – Woman’s Health Advisor

Sydney Donley is currently a senior at Northeastern University studying behavioral neuroscience. During her spring 2017 internship, she worked at IPHD for five months where she designed and implemented the Women’s Health Outreach Team. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and education, and in Boston, she is a mentor in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program for young girls. After graduation, she aspires to provide medical care to underserved populations through a career as a Physician Assistant.

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